Emotional Recycling


By Cynthia Nixon


“The new frontier – the human heart.”


Fear within the heart creates toxins – emotional manure, if you like, that can either be dumped or responsibly recycled. Planting love in our hearts is like planting trees; it provides beauty, life and a future. Fear is like a toxic weed that strangles Love and life’s potential if left unattended. Believing there is not enough love for us, or that we are not worthy of it, is a fear most people confront at least once in their lives. When this fear arises, we either look inside ourselves and weed out this toxin, or we look outside ourselves for an escape.


If we see a person dropping rubbish in the street, or out of a car window, we are often appalled at their lack of care and respect for our planet. However, I now believe it is just as disrespectful to drop emotional waste and expect others to clean up after us. I have worked with over 7,000 people recovering from drug and alcohol addictions, as well as helping them learn how to manage obsessive, compulsive behaviours that create emotional imbalance in relationship to food, money and sex.


After hearing a client unload their life history of addiction, violence, neglect and abuse, I often find myself saying:

“Shit makes great fertiliser. And the more you have, the more rose bushes you can grow.”

So every time you’re feeling shitty, crappy or unhappy, just remember there is no mystery here. You are simply locked in the position of looking at yourself and your world through the eyes of fear. The feeling is healthy, as it is only an alarm going off in the form of a feeling. Emotional discomfort is like a stone in your shoe. It makes sense to take the time to stop and take off your shoe, uncover your foot, discover the location of the stone, remove it, then re-cover your foot with your shoe, and in turn recover your birthright to feel emotional comfort.

These are the three vital steps to any form of emotional recovery from a place of fear or hell, back into a heavenly state of love – Uncover, Discover, Recover.

Do you emotionally dump? However, if you’re not sure how to effectively deal with the fear-based feeling, you might instead choose one of the following options:

  1. Stop walking and emotionally immobilise yourself – give up on love and intimate relationships, perhaps resorting to only loving pets, children or money, because dealing with adult human hearts… well, it’s all too hard.
  2. Numb the area to distract yourself from the pain – use a weapon of mass distraction like drugs, alcohol, food, sex, money, busyness or other people’s drama – become a helpaholic!
  3. Pretend it’s not happening and lie to yourself and others about your discomfort. This is called denial and some people have been in the habit of moving into this emotional gear so quickly they are not even conscious they are in denial. They are absolutely unaware they are lying to themselves because they have been doing it for so long that it is just an emotional knee-jerk reaction. DENIAL = Didn’t Even (k)Now It’s A Lie! When in denial, we often don’t even know we are lying to ourselves.
  4. Blame someone else for your discomfort. You may even suggest going for a walk in the first place down this street that has sharp stones on it! You have ruined my life, I am too hurt, I’ll never get over this. You remain a victim.

Any one of these four options results in emotional dumping in one form or another, either internally in your world, or externally in someone else’s.

  1. If you stop walking, you just delay the inevitable flow of your life and dump on yourself for not being able to cope. We get stuck and often angry at others and create stress or anger at ourselves and create depression.
  2. If you resort to weapons of mass distraction, once again you dump on yourself by overloading your system with drugs, cigarettes, alcohol, debt, sugar or other people’s emotional waste. You remain in a state of unresolved discomfort and erode your self-respect.
  3. If you pretend it’s not happening by living a lie, you erode your self-respect and the respect of others by being fraudulent. Trusting becomes a major issue.
  4. Blaming someone else is just like dropping garbage in the middle of a rose garden. It’s blatant emotional irresponsibility and immaturity. This is what children do until taught otherwise. Sadly, it is the most common approach that many people use.

Making ourselves or others wrong because we are emotionally uncomfortable has such a dangerous knock-on effect. It is what starts wars on a personal, family, social, state, national and even international scale if no emotionally fit adults or elders are available to help uncover, discover and recover the situation. What do my emotional toxins warn me about?

In a nutshell, when you are emotionally toxic, you are in a place of fear. It is often said that there are only two core emotive states of the human heart: Love and Fear. Every other emotion is an extension of that core state of being. This makes great sense to me and has been a very uncomplicated way to look at myself when I am imbalanced and to help others learn how to self-sooth and reboot their emotive state when they get stuck in a toxic place and are in danger of wrecking their whole day, their relationships, career, health or life because of it. The following toxic emotive states result when we forget that we are lovable and worthy. The only way out of them is to detox the Fear to make space for Love. Fear has to be released so we can grow.


Like all waste, we need to pass it out of our system, not store it, otherwise ‘dis-ease’ results. Fear brings pain so that we will release it. As a mother births a child, the pain forces her to release the baby. Without the pain, there is no trigger to release. So the lesson for us all in life is to learn how to do that without causing unnecessary harm to ourselves and others. To recycle it and make it useful is to gain understanding of ourselves. In the pain is fuel for growth. Pain is a healthy part of human life, but to get stuck in pain is unnecessary.


I love that Buddhist saying that “pain is inevitable, but suffering is optional”. We only suffer when we refuse to let go of the pain and grow. So here are the most common places that most of us seem to find ourselves when fearful. These quick spot checks might be helpful if you find yourself stuck in one of these toxic places. However, if you are close to sainthood and don’t ever struggle with these issues, these quick tips may help you heighten your awareness and be useful and constructive when someone else is stuck in their own emotional manure.

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It is a rare and inspirational gift to be able to remain loving when another is in a full-blown and unattractive state of fear.



Anger is an inbuilt alarm system that goes on like a red light inside us all. Anger is activated when an act of injustice has occurred and causes loss in our life or the life of another. Whenever anger is present, so is loss. When anger arises, it is therefore often helpful to ask the question: “What does this person feel they have lost?” or “What do I feel I have lost?” It is usually a basic human birthright like love, respect, security or the triggered memory of a time when this has happened in the past and been traumatic and remained unresolved.



Jealousy is often called ‘the green-eyed monster’ and it is connected to fear around self-love. It is an alarm to help recognise that comparison has got out of hand. It is unhealthy for us to measure our heart’s worth as being inferior or superior to another. The feeling of jealousy indicates we are stuck in ego. We can break the word ‘ego’ down into Easing Grace, god, good enoughness, Out. We become jealous of others when we are in ego, and easing grace, god or remembering we are good enough (whatever is most comfortable for you to apply here) out of our lives.

It is a fear-based knee-jerk reaction. The most powerful way to release jealousy is to verbalise it with someone who loves your heart and tell them what you feel and why. It is like releasing a splinter and with your words your fear is tweezered out.



Being stuck in hate is an indicator that you are stuck in the state of a disempowered child. When people use the word hate, it is a sharp knife that cuts them every time they say it. A loving adult needs to be called upon to help put the knife down. Children often say they hate it when they feel they have no choice at all, because the parent has enforced bed-time, a grounding, vegetable eating, sharing with siblings or some other intolerable situation. We hate when we don’t take the time to consider the other person’s story and stance. In hearing it, we might not like or agree with it, but balanced adults can learn to agree to disagree without a tantrum and a verbally sharp knife.



Resentment is a signal that we are stuck in a state of unresolved conflict. An easy way to describe resentment is that it is simply re-felt anger. Repeating or re-sending the unresolved situation over and over in our minds is like a snowball gathering momentum. It is often said that holding on to a resentment is like drinking poison and waiting for the other person to die. The only person that suffers is you! The best tip for halting this all-consuming state is to balance your view and cease focusing on the other person’s part in the drama and look at your role.

Were you being the best version of you? Are you proud of your behaviour? You are angry, but why? What do you feel you have lost? And what can you do about it? Focus on solutions, not the problem. Letting go of them and their actions will help release your frustration. Shifting your focus to your needs and your loss, and how to comfort yourself constructively, is the way off this merry-go-round.



When greed or the urge to over-compensate leads to over-spending, irresponsible sexual lust or gorging on food, the question to be asked is: “What’s eating you?” Gluttony is an act of denial, of trying to cover up, pretend, gloss over, distract yourself from an emotion that is more than uncomfortable, it feels like too much to cope with.

It is usually a strategy resorted to when we feel stuck and don’t know what to do or how to handle a big emotional hurdle. Often when there is sickness, death or intimate relationship endings with friends or lovers (abandonment is usually the core issue), this behaviour results. Once you have identified what it is you are trying to swallow or suppress without tasting, you acknowledge the next step is to ask for help because you are more than likely trying to cope alone with something that is too heavy and big for one heart to bear without support. We are tribal creatures, so you will need to call on emotional tribal support from peers, but more than likely an older and wiser elder would be most helpful.


If you don’t have one on hand, a therapist is a good alternative. How do I recycle my emotional waste? When I am asked by clients, or when I am stuck myself, and need to remember the simplest route home from that Fear-based hell back into that gentle, heavenly heart space of Love, I resort to that tried-and-true recovery acronym that breaks the letters of the word ‘how’ into H for Honestly, O for Open-mindedly and W for Willingly.

When we are finally able to be Honest about our fears and Open-minded to options and change, then become Willing to surrender to love, rather than fighting it, then a miracle happens.

Fear or the emotional manure in our lives becomes useful. It becomes fertiliser for the rose bushes of love that we can grow, bringing colour, love and beauty back into our hearts. This is the art of emotional recycling and it is the most challenging, yet rewarding, skill the heart can learn.


We love Cynthia Morton! For more information on her no-nonsense approach visit http://www.cynthiamorton.com/


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